Dear Friends of St. Joseph the Worker Parish,
Today, July 1, is my first official day as Pastor of St. Joseph the Worker Parish, and I am filled with joy to be a part of your parish community. But don't contact the office today looking for me as I have had a long-planned prior commitment. I look forward to meeting many of you on Sunday at the 10am Liturgy.
Also, next week I will begin having Masses on Tuesdays and Fridays at 12:15pm. The church will be open from 11am to 1pm. Eventually, I will expand the number of Masses and begin hours for confessions.
Sunday we celebrate Independence Day and the freedoms we enjoy in the USA. Most importantly for us as a parish community, we are thankful for the religious freedoms we enjoy - the freedom to assemble and worship God. We pray for people in too many parts of the world where that freedom is seriously restricted or non-existent.
However, we must remember that true freedom is the freedom that Christ has won for us. And that freedom is not the freedom to do what we want, but rather, the freedom to serve. I encourage you to read Paul's letter to the Galatians 5:1, 13-14. How do you use your freedom - selfishly or to serve? Happy Fourth of July!
In the peace of Christ,
We are glad the pandemic continues to recede in our part of the world, and continue praying for those countries which are still experiencing much suffering and pain. I am happy the USA is sharing millions of doses of vaccines with countries who lack the means to develop and purchase them.
As a result of the improvements in the public health situation and the rising numbers of people getting vaccinated, we are able to adapt our safety protocols for worship accordingly.
Starting June 15, the main change is that if you have been vaccinated, you do not need to wear a mask for indoor worship. If you have not been vaccinated, you are asked to wear a mask indoors for your own protection. There are no more restrictions on social distancing and seating limits for indoor worship. We can take down the ropes and taped closures of pews. If parishes wish to continue having a Mass outside, no one is required to wear a mask at all. Please post signs on your church doors, in your bulletins, and on your websites and social media to announce these changes. Please see the attached revised guidelines for more details.
Pastors please note: these protocols are all on the "honor system". No one should be forced or requested to "prove" their vaccination status to participate in worship. No one should be criticized if they choose not to be vaccinated, and/or wear a mask inside our churches. The "mask rules" for offices, schools, travel, public transportation, and businesses are still being worked out by government health officials. But church-goers may dispense with the mask if they have been vaccinated. Our ushers and greeters should extend a warm welcome and answer questions about the new policy, but they should never be used as "mask police".
You may, but are not required, to continue live-streaming Mass. It's better to come together in person for the Eucharist. But if significant numbers of your parishioners are ill, vulnerable, or not ready to attend in person, you may wish to continue the live stream option temporarily.
Let's extend a warm "welcome home" to our parishioners who have been starving spiritually during this pandemic. The Lord has given us "Bread from heaven, containing all sweetness within it." Let us do what the Good Shepherd commands us and open wide our doors to "Feed His lambs, feed His sheep."
In the overwhelming love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I am Yours sincerely in Christ,
The Most Reverend Michael C. Barber, S.J.
Bishop of Oakland
Watch video of completed exterior church paint project:
By appointment only, please call the office at 510-843-2244.
Adoration and Benediction
Suspended until further notice due to Covid-19 restrictions.
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PROTECTOR OF THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH
PRAYER TO ST. JOSEPH IN TRIALS OF THE CHURCH
"To you, O Blessed Joseph, we come in our trials, and having asked the help of your most holy Spouse, we confidently ask your patronage also.
Through the Sacred bond of charity which united you to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the fatherly love with which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you to look graciously upon the beloved inheritance which Jesus Christ purchased by His blood, and to aid us in our necessities with your power and strength.
O most provident guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ. Most beloved Father, dispel the evil of falsehood and sin.
Our most mighty protector, graciously assist us from heaven in our struggle with the powers of darkness. And just as once you saved the Child Jesus from mortal danger, so now defend God's Holy Church from the snares of her enemies and from all adversity.
Shield each one of us by your constant protection, so that, supported by your example and your help, we may be able to live a virtuous life, to die a holy death, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen."